TALK TIME: Labor candidate Zac Beers (above) wants to debate with Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd.
TALK TIME: Labor candidate Zac Beers (above) wants to debate with Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd. Contributed

Flynn gauntlet thrown down

THE face-off between Labor candidate for Flynn Zac Beers and current Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd continued this week.

Recently, Mr Beers invited Mr O'Dowd to participate in a public debate about workforce casualisation and wage growth.

Mr Beers said Central Highlands locals deserved to hear directly from their candidates about these issues.

"Casualisation, insecure work and stagnant wage growth are having a devastating effect for so many people in Central Queensland,” he said.

"Multinationals are running rampant by using temporary overseas workers and labour hire to dud local workers.

"Ken O'Dowd needs to front up and explain why he's backing multinationals over local workers.”

Mr Beers said in some cases, full-time employees were facing being pushed out and replaced with casuals and in others, employers were refusing to guarantee regular hours for their workforce.

"That's why I've put the call out for Ken O'Dowd and I to debate what we're going to do to make workplaces fairer,” he said.

"When I invited Ken O'Dowd to debate me last year, he responded that there would be 'plenty of time for debates during the election'.

"Now that the election has been called, it's time he stuck to his word, fronted up, and gave locals the answers they deserve.”

The Flynn candidate said workers in the Central Highlands region had been let down by Ken O'Dowd and the LNP.

"Coal miners and farm workers have been hit by casualisation and low wage growth as hard as anyone,” he said.

"... Ken and the LNP have no plan to deal with casualisation, no plan to get wages growing, and to add insult to injury, have actually voted to cut penalty rates.”

Mr Beer said his party had a comprehensive plan to deal with the rise of casualisation and insecure work.

"I've spent my entire working life standing up against big multinationals fighting for a better deal for Australian workers, and I'm confident we've got a plan that will give workers the security they need, and the wages they need,” he said.

In response to Mr Beers' comments, Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd said he hoped Mr Beers "recognises there are many issues that are important to the families and businesses of Flynn”, such as job security, lower taxes, strong economic management, the cost of living and supporting our agricultural and coal industries.

"I will happily discuss all these topics - not just one - with Mr Beers at a mutually suitable time and location,” he said.

Mr O'Dowd said it was important to remember it "suits some workers” to be employed on a causal basis and "casualisation always existed” under Labor and the Coalition, remaining at a level of around 25 per cent for around 20 years.

"Most of the 1.2 million-plus new jobs created under the Coalition have been full-time roles,” he said.

"We want to fix the casualisation issue, and earlier this year introduced legislation to extend the right to permanent work for all employees, including coal miners.”

"Labor knocked back that legislation because they think politics is more important than outcomes.

The LNP MP suggested Mr Beers ask his "political masters” to "please explain”.

"Why won't Labor support more workers' rights?” Mr O'Dowd said.

"Why won't they tell us what they reckon is wrong with our legislation?

"Surely they haven't stalled these changes just so they can make political mileage during a campaign?”


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